Pies don’t always turn out how you expect them to, but you can handle any last-minute Thanksgiving dessert surprises with this guide. From a crumbly crust to a runny filling, learn how to fix some of the most common pie issues — and how to avoid them next time around.
Your pie dough cracks.
If the dough cracks while you’re rolling it out, it may be too cold or lacking moisture. Try leaving it at room temperature for a few minutes to see if it becomes more pliable; if not, add a couple of drops of cold water.
If the crust cracks while baking, don’t sweat it — at least everyone knows it’s homemade! Save your extra dough and use festive pie cutters to create embellishments over the top of the crack, or cover the top with a dusting of powdered sugar or a thin layer of sweetened whipped cream to conceal it.
Blind baking is a great way to avoid a soggy crust, because the pie crust has a chance to become crisp before the wet filling is added. If your recipe won’t allow it, try refrigerating the crust for about 15 to 30 minutes before baking, or lightly brush the bottom with a beaten egg white to seal it before baking.
Your fruit filling is thin and runny.
The best way to thicken a fruit filling mixture is to reduce it on the stove top until it reaches the desired consistency. Simply bring to a boil, then simmer until it thickens, stirring occasionally. If you’re pressed for time, try adding cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water, a little at a time, until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.
Your pie crust shrinks while baking.
Pie crusts tend to shrink while baking if the dough has been overworked, activating the gluten. If you do overwork it by rolling and stretching, cover and refrigerate it for 30 minutes before coming back to it, allowing the gluten to relax again. Also, be sure to pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork if you’re blind baking the crust; this will allow the steam to escape and keep your crust in place.
You run out of pumpkin pie spice.